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The 1970 Tidewater 300 was a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) event that was held on Sunday, November 22, 1970, at Langley Field Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.

1970 Tidewater 300
Race details[1][2]
Race 48 of 48 in the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series season
Date November 22, 1970; 48 years ago (1970-11-22)
Official name Tidewater 300
Location Langley Field Speedway, Hampton, Virginia
Course Permanent racing facility
0.395 mi (0.836 km)
Distance 300 laps, 118.5 mi (190.3 km)
Weather Chilly with temperatures of 63 °F (17 °C); wind speeds of 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
Average speed 69.584 miles per hour (111.985 km/h)
Attendance 3,200
Pole position
Driver DeWitt Racing
Most laps led
Driver Bobby Allison Bobby Allison Motorsports
Laps 254
No. 22 Bobby Allison Bobby Allison Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network untelevised
Announcers none

The race car drivers who used General Motors vehicles would be humiliated at the end of the race because they failed to win any races during the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series season.

NASCAR was on a big remeasuring kick during that year. They found out that a lot of tracks were slightly bigger or smaller than originally advertised. Bristol and Martinsville still use the measurements that were discovered in 1970.



Langley Speedway is a paved short track measuring 0.395 miles in length, it is one of the flattest tracks in the region with only six degrees of banking in the corners and four degrees on the straights.[3]


Considered to be the 48th event of the 1970 season, this race was the final race of an unregulated stock car racing organization without a corporate sponsor. Economic issues and the need to increase the total amount of winnings for each qualifying participant required NASCAR to accept a major corporate sponsor to bankroll what will become multimillion-dollar purses by the end of the 20th century. Like all races done before the 1973 oil crisis, the stock cars were considered to be the same vehicles that the drivers drove to the racetrack in. Homologation rules would remain strict until approximately 1975 when the NASCAR teams would abandon the Detroit factories and set up their own race car factories in the South Carolina area.

The race was decided in a time of one hour and forty minutes. Bobby Allison was declared the race winner.[2] There were two cautions (for ten laps) and 3,200 people attended this 300 lap (118.5 miles) race.[2] Speeds approached 69.584 miles per hour (111.985 km/h) as the average and 78.239 miles per hour (125.913 km/h) for the pole position speed.[2] The margin of victory was only one hundred yards[2] (the equivalent of a football field as used by the National Football League). Other top participants were Benny Parsons (with his first career pole position), Pete Hamilton, John Sears, James Hylton, Neil Castles, Elmo Langley, J.D. McDuffie, Frank Warren, and Jabe Thomas.[2] This was the biggest racing grid of any race on the site at Langley with 30 drivers competing at the start.[2] However, only twenty of them managed to complete the race.[2]

The top prize of the race was $1,635 ($10,548 when adjusted for inflation) and the prize for thirtieth place was $200 ($1,290 when adjusted for inflation).[2] Total winnings were considered to be $10,015 ($64,613 when adjusted for inflation). Benny Parsons and Bobby Allison were constantly competing for the lead in parts of the race. Most of the vehicles that failed to finish the race were due to problems in their engine.[2]

Roy Tyner would race his final NASCAR Cup series race here while Rodney Bruce would make his only NASCAR Grand National Series appearance.[4]

Notable crew chiefs for this race included Junie Donlavey, Harry Hyde, Lee Gordon and Don Lawrence.[5]

Unfortunately, it would also be the last race ever for Langley Field. Even though the race was more than 300 miles, it was not considered to be modern enough for the evolving vehicles of what would become the NASCAR Winston Cup Series the following year. Many of the "pioneer race courses" did not survive NASCAR's abbreviated schedule as the organizers believed that the older tracks were not modern enough for the faster and newer vehicles.


Grid[2] No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 72 Benny Parsons '69 Ford L.G. DeWitt
2 71 Bobby Isaac '69 Dodge Nord Krauskopf
3 90 Bill Dennis '69 Mercury Junie Donlavey
4 22 Bobby Allison '70 Dodge Bobby Allison
5 48 James Hylton '70 Ford James Hylton
6 06 Neil Castles '69 Dodge Neil Castles
7 4 John Sears '69 Dodge John Sears
8 70 J.D. McDuffie '69 Mercury J.D. McDuffie
9 39 Friday Hassler '69 Chevrolet James Hanley
10 25 Jabe Thomas '69 Plymouth Don Robertson
11 64 Elmo Langley '69 Mercury Elmo Langley
12 54 Ben Arnold '69 Chevrolet Bill Dennis
13 24 Cecil Gordon '68 Ford Cecil Gordon
14 79 Frank Warren '69 Plymouth Frank Warren
15 10 Bill Champion '69 Ford Bill Champion
16 26 Dave Marcis '69 Ford Earl Brooks
17 32 Pete Hamilton '69 Plymouth Dick Brooks
18 68 Larry Baumel '69 Ford Allan Schlauer
19 74 Bill Shirey '69 Plymouth Bill Shirey
20 8 Joe Frasson '69 Ford Joe Frasson
21 37 Don Tarr '69 Dodge Don Tarr
22 34 Wendell Scott '69 Ford Wendell Scott
23 92 Roy Tyner '69 Chevrolet Roy Tyner
24 65 Joe Phipps '69 Chevrolet Joe Phipps
25 97 Jim Vandiver '68 Ford Cecil Gordon
26 19 Henley Gray '69 Ford Henley Gray
27 88 Bill Hollar '69 Ford Bill Hollar
28 67 Dick May '69 Ford Ron Ronacher
29 78 Rodney Bruce '69 Buick J.D. McDuffie
30 02 Jimmy Crawford '69 Plymouth Crawford Brothers

Finishing orderEdit

  1. Bobby Allison (No. 22)
  2. Benny Parsons† (No. 72)
  3. Pete Hamilton (No. 32)
  4. John Sears† (No. 4)
  5. James Hylton† (No. 48)
  6. Neil Castles (No. 06)
  7. Elmo Langley† (No. 64)
  8. J.D. McDuffie† (No. 70)
  9. Frank Warren (No. 79)
  10. Jabe Thomas† (No. 25)
  11. Friday Hassler† (No. 39)
  12. Bill Champion† (No. 10)
  13. Joe Frasson† (No. 8)
  14. Jim Vandiver (No. 97)
  15. Henley Gray (No. 19)
  16. Bill Shirey (No. 74)
  17. Rodney Bruce (No. 78)
  18. Bill Holar (No. 88)
  19. Wendell Scott† (No. 34)
  20. Dave Marcis (No. 26)
  21. Joe Phipps* (No. 65)
  22. Jimmy Crawford*† (No. 02)
  23. Bobby Isaac*† (No. 71)
  24. Cecil Gordon*† (No. 24)
  25. Ben Arnold* (No. 54)
  26. Roy Tyner*† (No. 92)
  27. Bill Dennis* (No. 90)
  28. Larry Baumel* (No. 68)
  29. Don Tarr* (No. 37)
  30. Dick May*† (No. 67)

† signifies that the driver is known to be deceased
* Driver failed to finish race


Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: Benny Parsons started with the pole position
  • Lap 2: Dick May managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 4: Don Tarr managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 17: Larry Baumel's vehicle developed transmission problems
  • Lap 28: Bill Dennis managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 35: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Benny Parsons
  • Lap 51: Handling issues forced Roy Tyner to exit the race
  • Lap 66: Ben Arnold managed to blow his vehicle's engine
  • Lap 87: Cecil Gordon managed to lose his vehicle's rear end
  • Lap 106: Bobby Isaac managed to lose his vehicle's rear end
  • Lap 108: Ignition problems forced Jimmy Crawford out of the race
  • Lap 190: Benny Parsons took over the lead from Bobby Allison
  • Lap 196: Transmission issues made Joe Phipps finish outside the "top 20"
  • Lap 202: Bobby Allison took over the lead from Benny Parsons
  • Finish: Bobby Allison was officially declared the winner of the event

Post-race issuesEdit


After years of not needing a primary sponsor, the Big Tobacco conglomerate R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company would become the main sponsor the following season with their Winston cigarette brand. Using their once-abundant profit margin they acquired while getting America's adult smokers to use their products on a habitual basis, the new primary sponsor would help bring NASCAR into its "modern era." This would bring about the unintended consequences of non-automotive sponsors into the sport. An increasing level of media coverage outside of the American Deep South would also help to bring the sport into the modern era.

Giveaway products in later years like T-shirts, knives, and cigarette lighters were often used as merchandise items handed out by American variety stores. All the customer had to was purchase a carton of Winston cigarettes and the bonus item would be added free of charge. All other cigarette products would not allow the customer to acquire free NASCAR merchandise because only the Winston brand was considered the official tobacco product of NASCAR. Unlike the more expensive items like jackets, merchandise from the main sponsor often dealt with NASCAR in general and never with a specific driver.

Distant changesEdit

Reynolds' premier cigarette brand would remain as NASCAR's top sponsor until 2004 when a telecommunications company known as Nextel Communications would take over due to declining North American tobacco sales in the 21st century. This would force the Winston Cup Series (also known as the Winston Cup Grand National Series prior to circa 1985) to change its name to the Nextel Cup Series. Computer games released from 2005 to the present day (i.e., NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup, NASCAR SimRacing) were allowed to use the name of NASCAR's premier racing series without having to use an ambiguous title because tobacco was no longer involved in its sponsorship. After a few years, the Nextel company would merge with another telecommunications company to form the Sprint Nextel company. This new corporate sponsor would take over primary sponsorship starting in 2008 (making it necessary to change the name of the Nextel Cup Series into the Sprint Cup Series).


  1. ^ "1970 Tidewater 300 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "1970 Tidewater 300 information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  3. ^ USARacing Pro Cup Media Guide August 22, 2009, edition
  4. ^ Retirements and one-time appearances at Race Database
  5. ^ "1970 Tidewater 300 crew chief information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
Preceded by
1970 American 500
NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup Races
Succeeded by
1971 Motor Trend 500
Preceded by
1969 Texas 500
NASCAR season-ending races
Succeeded by
1971 Texas 500